On the morning of May 26, I, like so many Californians, waited nervously to hear the California Supreme Court’s decision on Proposition 8. And like so many Californians, I was angered and disappointed by the court’s decision to uphold the proposition. Although the court preserved the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed before Proposition 8 was legalized, the decision as a whole was disheartening.
A rally, a protest and a march for equality were held throughout the day and into the evening. What I experienced was a truly inspiring sight – thousands of like-minded families, individuals and allies, chanting and carrying signs of support for the LGBT community. Instantly, my hope was restored. Despite this loss, the LBGT community continues to grow stronger and more organized. Surrounded by individuals of all walks of life, each filled with the same righteous anger, I realized that change is inevitable.
The night was also deeply meaningful because of its strong Jewish presence. In previous marches and rallies I participated as a LBGT activist who is Jewish. But on May 26, surrounded by friends and professionals from the organized Jewish community, I participated for the first time as a Jewish LBGT activist. I felt proud holding the Kol Tzedek marriage equality Chuppah and listening to Rabbi Doug Kahn, Executive Director of JCRC, inspire the crowd with his powerful words. Far too often, religion is portrayed as mutually exclusive to gay rights. But as we demonstrated that night, Judaism and equality go hand in hand.
The California Supreme Court’s ruling undoubtedly angered many in the Jewish Community, and you have every right to be angry. However, it is important that as a Jewish community, we take this anger and channel it into positive change. The court may have silenced the voices of hundreds of thousands of LGBT couples. But as Harvey Milk wisely noted, “Hope will never be silent.”
This is the first blog-posting of Jacob Goldstein, the LGBT Alliance 2009 Summer Intern.
The LGBT Alliance is currently organizing “Jews March for Pride,” a unified Jewish contingent for the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 28. Together we will send the message that the diverse Jewish community overwhelmingly supports marriage equality. Dozens of synagogues and Jewish organizations throughout the Bay Area have already signed up to march with us.
Register and learn more at http://tinyurl.com/jews4pride.
Rabbi Doug Kahn of JCRC and Jacob Goldstein, LGBT Alliance intern, at the May 26 Prop 8 Protest Rally